Exelon: 'Limerick Generating Station Operates Conservatively'
The company responded to a report issued Tuesday that said 6.7 million people in the state "could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant."
Despite a consumer advocacy group report on Tuesday that says nuclear power plants threaten the safety of drinking water, a spokeswoman for the Limerick generating station on Wednesday said the facility takes "extraordinary measures" to maintain the welfare of the community's water supply.
The Pennsylvania Public Interested Research Group Education Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides research and public education for state consumers, on Tuesday released findings of its study Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water.
According to the report, drinking water for 6.7 million Pennsylvanians is within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant, the distance the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to measure risk to food and water supplies.
The report also says 2.4 million residents of Philadelphia and its suburbs get drinking water from a source within 50 miles of a nuclear plant.
The proximity to a nuclear plant means an accident like the one in Fukushima could discharge "cancer-causing radioactive waste into our drinking water," said Alana Miller, PennPIRG education fund program associate, in a news release.
Last year's nuclear meltdown in Japan highlighted risks associated with nuclear power, according to Miller.
"After the disaster, airborne radiation left areas around the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near Tokyo, 130 miles from the plant," PennPIRG said. "The Schuylkill River provides cooling water for the Limerick nuclear plant, about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and could be at risk."
With nuclear power, there’s too much at risk and the dangers are too close to home, Miller said.
"Pennsylvanians shouldn’t have to worry about getting cancer from drinking a glass of water," she said.
The report recommends the U.S. retire existing plants, abandon plans for new plants, expand energy efficiency and produce clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
Exelon, however, said it maintains a thorough measure of safety.
"While there is no scientific evidence to support that any member of the public has ever been harmed by a radiation release from a U.S. nuclear power plant, Exelon will continue to take extraordinary measures to protect bodies of water and drinking water supplies near its nuclear energy facilities," said Exelon Limerick Generating Station Communications Manager Dana Melia via email on Wednesday.
"Limerick Generating Station operates conservatively within all environmental regulations set forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the PA Dept of Environment and the Delaware River Basin Commission," Melia said.
"Before issuing an operating license to a nuclear facility, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission specifically evaluates any potential impacts on sources of drinking water that might occur during normal operations and from postulated accidents," she said. "Each plant is required to regularly monitor all sources of drinking water in the vicinity of the plant and report the results."
In other Exelon news:
• Big Plastic Wrap On Power Plant - A towering boiler stack is covered with a gigantic plastic wrapping while being dismantled. Read full story.
• Exelon Posts Higher 4Q Profit But Revenue Slides - Chicago-based Exelon said its fourth-quarter profit missed analysts' estimates because of increasing power plant operating costs and warmer-than-normal weather. Read full story.
• Details of Constellation, Exelon Merger Focus Of New Hearings - Maryland's Public Service Commission opened new evidentiary hearings Wednesday into details of the proposed $7.9 billion sale of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group to Chicago-based Exelon Corp. Read full story.